In a major development, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir Hirdesh Kumar announced that non-locals who are residing in Jammu and Kashmir for different purposes can register their names in the voters' list and vote in the forthcoming Assembly elections.
These non-locals include employees, students, labourers or anyone living in the state.
"The requirement of domicile is not necessary for outsiders to get enlisted as voters. The armed forces personnel from other states who are posted at peace stations in J&K can also get their names added in the voter list," he said.
Around 25 lakh new voters are expected to be enrolled in the Union Territory as the special summary revision of electoral rolls is being held for the first time after abrogation of Article 370, he informed.
He further said that special summary revision of electoral rolls will be completed by November 25.
"The massive exercise to complete the process in time is going on to ensure that all the eligible voters including those who have attained the age of 18 years on 1 October, 2022 or earlier are enrolled to provide an error-free final list," he said.
Meanwhile, the opposition has accused the BJP of trying to gain a back door entry into the state.
“GOIs decision to defer polls in J&K preceded by egregious gerrymandering tilting the balance in BJPs favour & now allowing non locals to vote is obviously to influence election results. Real aim is to continue ruling J&K with an iron fist to disempower locals,” PDP president Mehbooba Mufti wrote on Twitter.
Reacting to the development, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Is the BJP so insecure about support from genuine voters of J&K that it needs to import temporary voters to win seats? None of these things will help the BJP when the people of J&K are given a chance to exercise their franchise.”
People’s Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone termed the move as ”dangerous” and said it will be ”disastrous”.
”This is dangerous. I don’t know what they want to achieve. This is much more than a mischief. Democracy is a relic especially in the context of Kashmir. Please remember 1987. We r yet to come out of that. Don’t replay 1987. It will be as disastrous,” Lone tweeted.